Former Stanford Adviser Chris Collier Files Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Jul. 12, 2010 4:09 pm  

Financial adviser Christopher J. Collier, who joined Sterne Agee & Leach in Little Rock last year after his former employer, Stanford Financial Group, was revealed to be a Ponzi scheme, has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection.

(To view a PDF of Collier's bankruptcy documents, click here.)

His petition, filed July 2, lists at least $1.94 million in liabilities, most of it unsecured, against $702,860 in assets. The single largest claim listed, $811,461, is related to a civil lawsuit filed by Ralph S. Janvey of Austin, Texas, who was appointed receiver for R. Allen Stanford's financial empire in February 2009. Collier, who did not return a call seeking comment, also listed a $112,000 liability for "lawsuits" related to Stanford investments filed in Saline County Circuit Court by Luther Sutter on behalf of Pfeifer Sutter Family LLC.

Collier also lists 28 additional creditors with "unknown" claims described as "possible" lawsuits connected with Stanford investments.

Asked whether listing a possible lawsuit meant that the individual had actually threatened to sue, Collier's bankruptcy attorney, Frederick S. "Tripp" Wetzel III of Little Rock, said, "We're just disclosing what's required by the bankruptcy code." He said he wasn’t authorized by his client to comment further.

Most clients who had trading accounts with Stanford were paid out by the receiver more than a year ago. But other clients bought certificates of deposit in an Antiguan bank owned by Allen Stanford, CDs that promised impossibly high interest rates. Those investments turned out to be worthless.

The collapse of Stanford Financial Group also took a toll on Collier's income. According to his bankruptcy filing, he earned more than $250,000 from Stanford in 2007 and almost $400,000 in 2008. But his combined income from Stanford and Sterne Agee & Leach in 2009 was $113,274, and his current income is listed as just over $4,000 a month.

He may also be on the hook for $167,000 in federal income taxes for "forgiven debt," although he hasn't received an IRS form 1099 from the Stanford Group for that income.

Collier lists a half-interest with his ex-wife, Sara Collier, in a house in The Ridge subdivision of Little Rock. The Colliers paid $525,000 for the house in October 2003, and the balance on the mortgage held by Arvest Bank is $512,371, according to the bankruptcy filing. The current value of the house is listed at $495,000.

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